appreciative audiences in America sooner than at home. 2 Many
an English book, afterward recognized as epoch-making, found
its way into far Western villages, and into the hands of eager
young men and women there who had never worn evening dress
!In 1846 a boy of eighteen started for Knox College, at Galesburg, Illinois.
By working as a farm hand (he harvested two weeks for a Virgil and a Latin
Dictionary), and by teaching school for a few months (and " boarding round ")
at eight dollars a month, he had saved up ten dollars. He walked first to
Chicago, the nearest town, for supplies ; but the unaccustomed temptation of
the display in a bookstore window lured him within, and most of his capital
went for a few books, which would seem old-fashioned, indeed, to the boys of
to-day. The remaining cash bought only a pair of shoes and an Indian-blanket
coat (with great stripes about the bottom). To save the precious shoes, he
then walked the two hundred miles from his home to Galesburg barefoot. His
first day there, he built a fence for the President's cow pasture, to earn money
for textbooks, and found a place to work for his board through the college
year. This man became one of the notable builders of a Western common
2 Carlyle's long-delayed income from his books came first from reprints in
America, managed by Emerson.
557] INTELLECTUAL FERMENT 469
or eaten a course dinner, long before it penetrated to even the
" reading set " at Oxford University. 1 The North American
Review and, a little later, the Atlantic Monthly, periodicals of
fine literary tone, could be seen in isolated farmhouses on
A caricature picturing a gaunt New England housewife on
hands and knees to scrub, but pushing before her a stand hold
ing an open copy of Emerson to which her eyes were glued,
might have been applied, with no more exaggeration, to show
the strenuous struggle for culture in many a modest home in
Kansas or Minnesota. The village sewing society eschewed
gossip to listen to one of their number reading aloud while the
others plied the needle. Each village had its lyceum, for the
winter evenings, with literary programs, readings, declama
tions, and debates crude and quaint enough, sometimes, but
better than " refined vaudeville." Such villages, too, aspired
to frequent courses of lectures, with such eastern celebrities
as Holmes and Everett on the program ; and often the proceeds
of the lectures were used to start a village library. 2 Twice, on
such lecture tours, Emerson penetrated beyond the Mississippi,
greeted in barn-like " halls " by hard-handed men and women,
seated on wooden benches, with eager faces agleam with keen
1 Before 1862, W. D. Howells, then a young newspaper writer in a raw
Western town, counted Browning and Thackeray among his favorite authors;
but Walter Besant mentions in his Autobiography that these authors were
not then known to his set at Cambridge University.
2 In 1859 Edward Everett lectured at St. Cloud, a new, straggling village of
a hundred houses, in Minnesota. The one-room schoolhouse in which he spoke
was promptly named the Everett School ; and receipts from the " entertain
ment " were appropriated for a library which was kept for years in a private
home. After the Civil War, a Woman's Aid Society, which had been earning
money to send dainties and medicines to sick soldiers, continued its meetings
and used its money to enlarge this choice collection of books. There, as a boy,
the writer made first acquaintance with Carlyle, Marcus Aurelius, standard
histories of that day, such as Prescott's Philip II and Motley's Rise of the
Dutch Republic, and the novels of Scott, George Eliot, and Thackeray. This
experience was typical. The few books, purchased by real book lovers, were
not yet buried in a mass of commonplace.
470 THE NEW DEMOCRACY OF 1830 [ 558
558. The intellectual and moral ferment of the time overflowed
in manifold attempts at Utopias set off from ordinary society.
New England Transcendentalists tried a cooperative society at
Brook Farm (1841), with which Emerson and Hawthorne were
connected. 1 Robert Owen, who had already attempted a model
industrial town in Scotland, founded New Harmony in Indiana,
where labor and property were to be in common. Scores of
like communities were soon established in different parts of
the West ; and the old communistic societies of the " Shakers "
spread rapidly. Said Emerson, with genial recognition of the
humorous side of the upheaval, " Not a man you meet but has
a draft of a new community in his pocket."
559. Peculiar among these movements was Mormonism, with its in
stitution of polygamy. Mormonism was founded at Palmyra, New
York, in 1829, by Joseph Smith, who claimed to be a prophet and to
have discovered the inspired Book of Mormon. Soon the " Latter-Day
Saints " removed to Ohio ; then to Missouri ; and, driven thence by popu
lar hatred, to Illinois, where, in 1841, they established at Nauvoo a "Holy
City " of ten thousand people, industrious and prosperous, ruled by Smith
after the fashion of an ancient Hebrew "Judge." Three years later, a
mob from surrounding towns broke up the settlement and murdered
Smith. Then, under the youthful Brigham Young, the persecuted Mor
mons sought refuge in Utah, vaguely supposed to be a part of Mexico, but
remote from any organized government and sheltered from " civilization "
by the desert and the Rockies. Here their industry made the cactus
sands to bloom, and they remained in peace until invaded by the rush of
gold-seekers to California after '49.
560. More effective were a multitude of movements for social
betterment within the existing community. Massachusetts
founded the first public hospital for the insane; and Dorothy Dix
spent a noble life in spreading such institutions in other
States. Special schools for the deaf and the blind were insti
tuted. States began to separate juvenile delinquents from har
dened criminals; and for the criminals themselves more rational
and wholesome prison life was attempted. Temperance societies
1 Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance satirized the movement, and caricatured
some of the participants.
531] SOCIAL REFORM 471
began in Boston in 1824 ; and, in 1846, Maine adopted the first
State-wide prohibition law. The Abolition movement rose and
spread, and soon the agitation against slavery became the
chief manifestation of this great wave of moral earnestness.
The thirties, too, saw the beginning of a long agitation for
Woman's Mights, including coeducation, equality with men in
inheriting and owning property, and the franchise. To these
must be added the many reforms urged especially by the labor
movement ( 549).
The legal position of woman everywhere in America was still regulated
by the medieval Common law. An unmarried woman's earnings and
" property 1 ' were not hers (any more than a slave's were his), but be
longed legally to her father. A married woman's property (unless pro
tected by express legal settlement) was her husband's, and, in many de
grading ways, she was herself his chattel. Statute law now began faint
reform of some of these evils.
561. Mechanical invention began now to revolutionize in
dustry and life. From the inauguration of Washington to the
War of 1812, patents for new inventions averaged less than
eighty a year. From 1812 to 1820, they rose to nearly two
hundred a year, and in 1830 the number was 544. Twenty
years later, the thousand mark was passed, and in 1860, the
number was nearly 5000.
These inventions mostly saved time or tended to make life
more comfortable or more attractive. A few cases only can be
mentioned from the bewildering mass. Axes, scythes, and
other edged tools, formerly imported, were manufactured at
home. The McCormick reaper appeared in 1831. This in
vention, with its improvements, soon multiplied the farmer's
efficiency in the harvest field by twenty, and, with the general
introduction of threshing machines, made it possible for our
people to use the vast grain lands of the Northwest. Planing
mills created a new industry in wood. Colt's " Revolver "
(1835) replaced the one-shot "pistol." Iron stoves began to
rival the ancient fireplace for cooking. Friction matches (in
vented in England in 1827) were the first improvement on
THE NEW DEMOCRACY OF 1830
prehistoric methods of making fire. Illuminating gas for city
streets improved city morals. In 1838 the English Great
Western, with screw propeller and with coal to heat its boilers,
established steam navigation across the Atlantic, though the
bulk of ocean freight continued long to be carried in American
sailing ships. The same year saw the invention of the steam
HARVESTING IN 1831. McCormick's first successful horse-reaper The " self-
binder " was a later feature. This photograph, based upon a ' ' reconstruc
tion," and the following one are furnished by the International Harvester
hammer and the successful application of anthracite coal to
smelting iron. 1 In 1839 a Frenchman, Daguerre, began photog
raphy with his "daguerreotypes," and still earlier another
French chemist had found how to can foods. In 1841 the
1 Pittsburg was already the center of iron manufactures for the West. Now
its neighborhood to both anthracite and iron made it a center of this great
industry for the whole country.
562] INVENTIONS REVOLUTIONIZE LIFE 473
anaesthetic value of ether, an incomparable boon to suffering
humanity, was discovered separately by Dr. Morton and Dr.
Jackson. The magnetic telegraph, invented in 1835, was made
effective in 1844. Howe's sewing machine was patented in
1846 ; the next year saw the first rotary printing press.
Except as otherwise indicated, all these inventions were by
Americans. In 1841 America had its full revenge for earlier
British disdain, when a member of the English cabinet de
clared in parliament, "I apprehend that a majority of the
HARVESTING TO-DAY. A Mogul Kerosene Tractor pulling two McCormick
reapers and binders with mechanical shockers. The tractor is managed
by the man on the front reaper. Two men take the place of six human
beings in the previous cut and do many times as much work.
really new inventions [lately introduced into England] have
originated abroad, especially in America"
562. The Railway deserves a fuller account. Tramways
(lines of wooden rails for cars drawn by horses 1 , for short
distances) came into use in some American cities about 1807.
THE NEW DEMOCRACY OF 1830
As early as 1811, John Stevens began twenty years of fruitless
efforts to interest capital in his dream of a steam railway. In
1814, in England, George Stephenson completed a locomotive,
which found employment in hauling coal on short tracks ; but
no railway of consequence for passenger traffic was opened
there until about 1830. After 1825, the question was much
agitated in America ; and July 4, 1828, the aged Charles Car
roll, signer of the Declaration of Independence, drove the
golden spike that marked the beginning of the Baltimore and
THE "DfiWiTT CLINTON," the first railroad locomotive that ran in New
York. It made its first trip, August 9, 1831, from Albany to Schenectady.
From a photograph of a " restoration."
Ohio. The same year witnessed a score of charters to pro
jected lines ; but construction was slow, from lack of expe
rience and materials, and especially from lack of engineers to
survey and construct roadbeds ; and it was still thought com
monly that about the only advantage for railroads over canals
would lie in the freedom from interruption by ice in winter.
In 1830 less than thirty miles of track were in use,' and
this only for " coaches " drawn by horses ; but in 1840 nearly
three thousand miles were in operation, and, for long there
after, the mileage doubled each five years. The early rails
562] THE RAILROAD 475
were of wood, protected from wear by a covering of wrought-
iron " straps," perhaps half an inch thick, which had the awk
ward habit of curling up at a loosened end. The " coaches "
imitated the shape of the stagecoach; but finally a form
more adapted to the new uses was devised. The rate of prog
ress on the first roads rose to fifteen miles an hour, some
thing quite beyond previous imagination. By 1850, the rail
road had begun to outrun settlement, forging ahead into the wil
derness, " to sow with towns the prairies broad," and to create
the demand for transportation which was to feed it ( 703
It was natural to treat the railway like any other improved
road or public highway, so far as conditions would permit.
Some States, at first, permitted any one to run cars over a line by
paying proper tolls. But, in the absence of scientific system
and of telegraphic train-dispatching, so many accidents occurred,
that this plan was given up. 1 Then roadbed and train fell to
It remained to decide whether that owner should be the pub
lic or a private corporation. Several States tried State owner
ship, as with canals (Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan,
Georgia) ; but lines ran from State to State in such a way as to
make this practically impossible. No one in that day suggested
that the nation should own and operate railroads ; and so these
tremendously powerful forces were abandoned to private cor
porations. 2 Congress, however, has many times encouraged such
corporations by immense grants of public lands along a pro
posed line in a " Territory," as State legislatures have done
within State borders. Unhappily, such grants have often been
made carelessly, if not corruptly, without proper security for
adequate return to the public welfare.
1 " Single-tax " reformers believe that this plan should be reintroduced un
der the improved conditions of to-day.
2 Usually known to-day as "public-service" corporations (along with city
gas companies, electric lighting companies, etc.) because they can exist only by
grants of right-of-way and other privileges from the public, in return for
expected services to the public.
THE "REVOLUTION OF 1828"
563. The victory of Jackson in the Nation was a sign and a
result of a democratic victory that unknown men had been winning
in the States. It was possible only because of a recent rapid
extension of manhood suffrage. At Washington's election man
hood suffrage was found in none of the thirteen States. At
Jefferson's election it was practiced in only Kentucky and Ver
mont out of the sixteen States. By 1824 it was established in
ten of the twenty-four commonwealths, and five others had
removed all but nominal restrictions upon it.
Between 1792 and 1821, eleven new States had been admitted. Ten
nessee had an ineffective restriction on the franchise (removed in a new
constitution in 1833); Ohio at first required payment of taxes as a qualifi
cation for voting ; and Mississippi required either that or service in the
militia. The other eight new states came in with manhood suffrage. Four
of the older States also had followed in the footsteps of the progressive
West : Maryland adopted manhood suffrage in 1810 ; Connecticut, in 1818 ;
in 1821, Massachusetts and New York reduced their former qualifications to
tax payment or militia service, and in 1826 New York removed even this
564. These reforms had been carried against vehement protest
by the elder statesmen. The aged John Adams and the stalwart
Webster made stubborn resistance in Massachusetts. In New
York, Chancellor Kent, a great lawyer and a noble man, pleaded
with the constitutional convention not to " carry desolation
through all the fabric erected by our fathers," or " put forth
to the world a constitution such as will merit the scorn of the
wise and the tears of the patriot." In Virginia (1830), only a
slight gain was made, because of the opposition of Marshall,
Madison, and Randolph, ancient foes, who joined hands to
shut out 80,000 White citizens from the vote.
566] CHANGES IN POLITICS 477
Everywhere but in the West, leadership in the old party
of Jefferson had fallen into the hands of aristocrats. With
striking unanimity, North and South, such leaders now pub
licly denounced the war cry of Jackson "Let the people
rule " as ominous of the " tyranny of mere numbers " and
" destructive of the checks and balances of the Constitution." 1
In the Federal presidency itself, Monroe and Adams had
brought back the pomp and ceremonial against which Jefferson
565. The election of Jackson then, even more than that of
Jefferson, marks a true "revolution" in American society.
Again a new generation had come upon the stage and indeed
upon a new stage. The victory of Jackson was the victory of
the new West over the old East ; and in the East itself it was
the victory of the newly awakened labor class. Everywhere
it was the victory of a new radical democracy, untrained,
led by " men of the people," over the moderate democracy
of Jefferson, led by trained, leisured, cultured " gentlemen." 2
Jeffersonian democracy had feared government : Jacksonian
democracy was eager to use it. The old democracy had taught
that the people should be governed as little as possible : the
new democracy taught that the people might govern as much
as they liked. More, drunk with its victory, democracy
began to insist not merely that majorities ought to be supreme,
as the best policy, but even that majorities were always right :
" vox populi, vox Dei"
566 . The wider suffrage after 1 825 brought other political changes.
(1) TJie franchise was used more directly. In an increasing
number of States, the governors and judges were chosen by
the people instead of by the legislatures. So, too, of presi
dential electors: in 1800 ten States of the sixteen chose
1 Dodd's Expansion and Conflict, 11, gives some illustrations.
2 To compare the exterior of Abraham Lincoln (frontispiece), and the log
cabin in which he was born (page 419) , with the portrait of Jefferson on
page 426 and the photograph of Monticello on page 411, is to glimpse some of
the contrast between Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy.
478 JACKSONIAN DEMOCRACY [ 56*3
electors by legislatures ; in 1828 only two of the twenty-four
did so, and after that the only State to continue the practice
was South Carolina.
(2) The presidency gained power. It was no longer filled,
even in theory, by a select coterie. Jackson's friends liked to
call their leader "the chosen Tribune of the people." The
Nation found it easier to express its will in choosing one man
than in choosing a Congress in hundreds of local units, often
largely upon local issues.
(3) The two matters just mentioned combined to bring out
a larger vote. The election of 1789 was fiercely contested in
New York, but only one vote was cast for every 27 inhabitants.
In 1828 that State cast a vote for every six inhabitants.
Pennsylvania cast 47,000 votes in 1824, but 150,000 in 1828.
In Massachusetts only one man in 19 went to the polls in
1824 ; but after 1828 the proportion was rarely under 1 in 8.
(4) Property qualifications for office disappeared rapidly.
(5) Test oaths were abolished, so that Jews and Catholics
could hold office.
(6) The union of State and Church in Connecticut and Mas
sachusetts ( 269) was overthrown.
(7) This greater democracy in politics brought social
changes also. After the extension of the suffrage in Con
necticut in 1818, public officers ceased to wear cockaded hats,
powdered wigs, or knee-breeches and silk stockings.
567. Andrew Jackson dominated America for twelve years
(1829-1841), for his control reached over into the adminis
tration of his successor and political heir, Van Buren. He
was of Scotch-Irish descent, and his boyhood had been passed
in the backwoods of North Carolina, in bare poverty. Picking
up some necessary scraps of knowledge, he removed to the
newer frontier of Tennessee to practice law. He was a natural
leader; and his incisiveness and aggressiveness forced him to
the front. In 1797 Tennessee sent him as her first Repre
sentative to Congress, for which life at that time he seems
to have been little fitted. Gallatin noticed him only for his
uncouth dress and manner, unkempt hair tied in an eel-skin
cue, and Jefferson was disgusted by the "passion" that
" choked his utterance."
Soon, however, Jackson found his place as military leader
and Indian fighter ; and he came back to political leadership
as a more imposing figure, the natural spokesman of Western
democracy. " Old Hickory " remained spare in person, with
the active and abstemious living of the frontier. His hair was
"CLAR DE KITCHEN," a contemporary cartoon caricaturing Jackson's treat
ment of his cabinet and friends when they differed from him. The faces
are all portraits. By the courtesy of the Library of Congress.
now a silvered mane. His manner was marked by a stately
dignity and, toward all women, by true courtliness. Beneath
this exterior, he remained as pugnacious and fearless and self-
confident as ever ; apt to jump to conclusions and stubborn in
clinging to them ; l sure of his own good intentions, and, with
somewhat less reason, of his good judgment; trusting his
1 A choice bit of contemporary satire makes him say, " It has always bin
my way, when I git a notion, to stick to it till it dies a natural death ; and the
more folks talk agin my notions, the more I stick to 'em."
480 JACKSONIAN DEMOCRACY [ 508
friends (not always wisely chosen} as himself ; and moved by
an unconscious vanity that made it easy for shrewd men to
play upon him ; but, withal, with sound democratic instincts,
hating monopoly and distrusting commercial greed and all
appeals from it for alliance with the government, and believing
devotedly in the " sovereignty of the people,' 7 a sovereign who
" could do no wrong." As President he felt himself to be the
embodiment of the Nation's will ; and he seized a masterful
control of Congress so successfully and imposingly that all
Presidents since have felt themselves possessed of rightful
power never claimed by Washington or Jefferson.
One symbol of the new power of the President was the growth of the veto.
The preceding six Presidents together had vetoed nine bills all on con
stitutional grounds Jackson hailed twelve vetoes on the astounded Con
gress to control general policy, besides using freely the "pocket veto"
which was permitted by the Constitution but which no former President
568. The first and main fault of the new democracy, and of its
chief, was the degradation of the civil service. Since Jefferson's
election, there had been no change of party, and, until 1824, no
factional contest within the dominant party. Accordingly,
there had been no occasion for sweeping changes among office
holders. In 1820 Senator Crawford of Georgia had secured a
" four-year tenure-of-ofnce bill," providing that a great number
of offices should thereafter always become vacant four years
after appointment. But Adams, with high-minded dignity,
refused to take advantage of this legal opportunity to punish
adversaries and hire supporters. Instead, he reappointed all
fit officials affected by the law, and made altogether only twelve
removals during his term. The law remained, however, a keen
weapon for less scrupulous men.
Jackson, indeed, needed no new weapon : the powers of the
President under the Constitution were enough for him. His
enemies were, to his mind, the Nation's enemies ; and he was
controlled by friends who brazenly proclaimed the doctrine,
" To the victors belong the spoils of the enemy."
569] THE SPOILS SYSTEM 481
Jackson men from distant States hastened to the Capital to
attend the inauguration and press claims to appointments.
Never had Washington seen such a horde of hungry politi
cians. 1 In the preceding forty years of the government, there
had been less than two hundred removals from office for all
causes. In his first year, Jackson made two thousand. But
this was far too moderate to content the multitude. The policy
of spoils was the Nation's blunder, not merely the President's ;
and the Nation was to be shackled by it for more than a gen
eration. 2 At the moment it resulted in widespread inefficiency
and in many scandalous cases of corruption to all of which
Jackson held himself stubbornly indifferent. His successor
reaped the whirlwind. In 1837 (Van Buren's first year) the
collector of the New York Customs defaulted in the sum of
a million dollars and, together, 64 of the 67 land officers stole